June 14, 2011


US pork producers against antibiotic restrictions



US pork producers and veterinarians opposed restrictions on antibiotic use proposed by legislation, during a press conference conducted by the National Pork Producers Council at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines last week.


"Pork producers recognise their moral obligation to care for the welfare of their animals," said Howard Hill, DVM, NPPC board member. "We oppose legislation that would ban the certain use of antibiotics in livestock, in particular, the legislation proposed by (New York Congresswoman) Louise Slaughter."


Slaughter, (D-N.Y.), recently re-introduced legislation titled 'The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act', or PAMTA, with the objective of eliminating feed delivery of antibiotics in livestock.  Slaughter contends that antibiotic use in animal agriculture is the primary driver behind the antibiotic resistance phenomenon encountered in human medicine.


"Current and future availability of safe and effective animal health products are important to pork producers, who depend on these products, to maintain healthy and productive animals," said Hill. "Responsible and judicious use of antibiotics in pork production helps prevent animal suffering, and ensures that consumers have access to safe and wholesome pork products."


Pork producers administer antibiotics to their animals for four reasons, according to Hill: treatment of illness, prevention of disease, control of disease and nutritional efficiency of animals. The legislation proposed by Slaughter seeks to eliminate antibiotics used for nutritional efficiency. According to the Animal Health Institute, approximately 13% of animal antibiotics are used for that purpose.


Hill stresses that feed delivery of antibiotics must be preserved.

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